Grand Prix Classic




Round 13 - Italian Grand Prix
Monza, 9 - 11 September, 1983

The Dutch Grand Prix had provided another twist in the championship battle. Piquet was the fastest there, but hadn't finished. Prost had the points advantage, but hadn't finished either. Ferrari had come out of a difficult weekend with a 1-2 finish, keeping both Arnoux and Tambay in close contention. As Formula 1 arrived at Monza, there were still four drivers very much in contention.

Monza also saw the Formula 1 rumour mill at its' peak, with one Ferrari driver seeming likely to move aside for 1983, most likely to be replaced by Michele Alboreto. Brabham were also reported to be dropping Riccardo Patrese, while Eddie Cheever, John Watson and Nigel Mansell were still awaiting confirmation that they would be kept on by their respective teams for 1984 and several teams were reputedly chasing the signature of Toleman's Derek Warwick.


Entry Notes

A second McLaren-TAG was provided for John Watson despite his unclear future, while Spirit's new 101 car was present, but incomplete. The team hoped to finish work on it over the weekend.

[Full Entry]


Qualifying

The Tifosi's hopes of a Ferrari on pole were dashed by the speed of the Brabham-BMW cars, now augmented by Hart boost units. Piquet seemed destined for pole before Tambay raised Italian hopes, only to be almost immediately toppled by Patrese. Arnoux managed to get between the Brabhams too.

Prost, a harrowed man all weekend and facing venomous abuse from the Italian fans, was almost two seconds slower than Patrese in 5th, with de Cesaris, Cheever, de Angelis, Winkelhock and Baldi filling the remainder of the top 10.

Further down, despite being the fastest cars in a straight line, Lauda and Watson were 13th and 15th in the McLaren-TAG cars, while Rosberg once more led the Cosworth cars in 16th, over six seconds off pole. His team-mate Laffite was even worse off - after spending much of free practice trying Goodyear's new radial tyres, he was unable to get his car set up properly for qualifiers, and missed the cut along with Boesel and Acheson.

[Full Grid & Practice Times]


Race

The usual fanatical Ferrari support was on hand for race day, with an attendance in excess of 200,000. Overnight fans had painted messages of support in front of the Ferrari cars' grid slots and that of de Cesaris, and obscene derision in the places of Piquet and Prost (Patrese was neutral, it would seem - he might be driving for Brabham, but at least he was Italian, and he attracted less vitriol than the other non-Ferrari drivers). The latter were erased before the dummy grid formed. However, much to the Tifosi's dismay, it was the Brabhams who streaked away, and by the end of the first lap Patrese and Piquet had a gap between them and their nearest pursuers - Tambay, Arnoux, Cheever, de Cesaris and Prost.

On the second lap Arnoux went past Tambay at the Parabolica, with Cheever following at the first chicane. Behind them de Cesaris tried to follow the Renault with a banzai overtaking move, stepping on everything when Tambay rightly took his line and looping backwards into the sand trap, almost collecting Prost on the way to retirement. Patrese joined him within a matter of seconds, his BMW letting go with a cloud of smoke on the back of the circuit.

This effectively removed the only real threat to Piquet, who was able to ease off on his boost to preserve the engine. Cheever pressed Arnoux without really looking like getting past, while Tambay and Prost fell away. Indeed, Prost - off-form and unable to get a rhythm, with his tyres ruined avoiding de Cesaris - was soon passed by de Angelis, and the Lotus would also get past Tambay on lap 14.

Behind this group, Watson had charged impressively to 7th only to be sidelined by an electrical fault on lap 14, while Lauda had dropped into the pits to have his brake fluid refilled and was running behind the Osellas. Warwick was in a solid 7th, pursued by Winkelhock, Mansell and Giacomelli. A typically dogged Rosberg was hanging onto the back of this group, but would be penalised a minute for encroaching on the white lines down the side of the starting grid - a rule in place at Monza since Ronnie Peterson's fatal accident in 1978.

Cheever began to drop off the back of Arnoux, but it was a case of the Renault slowing rather than the Ferrari speeding up. First to stop was de Angelis, in on lap 24 with his Pirellis almost worn through, and then Prost. But the Renault was going slowly on entrance and then again on exit, and would only last half a lap before pulling in on the grass with a broken turbo - a second race with no points, and the man who had been champion elect a month before could only watch as his rivals prepared to wipe out most of his points lead.

Much of the rest of the race was quiet at the front. Piquet underscored his dominance by pitting last of all, with only 20 laps to go. He resumed with a 25 second lead, built while his car had been heavier than his rivals. There was some brief excitement when his cushion dropped down to 15.5s by lap 41, but this was simply because the BMW had started to overheat, and Piquet was taking it easy to preserve the engine. Arnoux had been bothered once more after the pitstops by Cheever, but unable to get by on the straights, the American also eased off and accepted his lot.

Tambay struggled all afternoon and was eventually a lonely 4th. During the pitstops he had repassed de Angelis and briefly looked like being challenged again, but the Italian had asked too much of his brakes in the first stint and had to back off. Winkelhock had looked like pressing Warwick for the final point until, once again, his ATS broke, and after spending nearly three seasons trying Toleman took their second top-six placing in as many races.

Giacomelli had a good run too, and had unlapped himself from Piquet and was attacking Mansell for 7th on the final lap when the usual track invasion took place seconds after Tambay had crossed the line. Mansell came out of Parabolica and almost ground to a halt, whereas Giacomelli threaded his way through the spectators to take the place. Opinion was divided on this - some noted that Giacomelli seemed in complete control as he headed to the line, and while there were spectators on the track the straight was hardly clogged with people. Mansell argued that he wasn't going to take the slightest chance of hitting someone and finishing 7th with a body on the front of the car. Surprisingly, Lotus manager Peter Warr admonished his driver for this, noting that Mansell's conscience had cost his team $3000 in prize-money...

Piquet's dominant win put him very much back in the title fight, with considerable momentum - the Piquet/Brabham/BMW combination had been the class of the last two meetings (arguably the last three but for reliability issues in Austria), while the Ferraris seemed to be dependant on the opposition's mechanical problems. Renault and Prost, meanwhile, seemed harassed and helpless all of a sudden. With two more races to go and four drivers still in with a serious chance of winning the title, things looked set for a grandstand finish to the season.


Result

Pos.
Driver Car
Laps
Time/Retirement
Grid
1
Nelson Piquet Brabham-BMW
52
1h 23m 10.000s
4
2
Rene Arnoux Ferrari
52
+ 11.092s
3
3
Eddie Cheever Renault
52
+ 19.492s
7
4
Patrick Tambay Ferrari
52
+ 29.903s
2
5
Elio de Angelis Lotus-Renault
52
+ 54.560s
8
6
Derek Warwick Toleman-Hart
52
+ 1m 14.228s
12
7
Bruno Giacomelli Toleman-Hart
52
+ 1m 34.802s
14
8
Nigel Mansell Lotus-Renault
52
+ 1m 36.915s
11
9
Jean-Pierre Jarier Ligier-Cosworth
51
+ 1 lap
19
10
Marc Surer Arrows-Cosworth
51
+ 1 lap
20
11
Keke Rosberg Williams-Cosworth
51
+ 1 lap/Penalised 1 minute
16
12
Johnny Cecotto Theodore-Cosworth
50
+ 2 laps
26
13
Roberto Guerrero Theodore-Cosworth
50
+ 2 laps
21
R
Corrado Fabi Osella-Alfa Romeo
45
Oil leak
25
R
Danny Sullivan Tyrrell-Cosworth
44
Metering unit
22
R
Thierry Boutsen Arrows-Cosworth
41
Engine
18
R
Manfred Winkelhock ATS-BMW
35
Exhaust
9
R
Michele Alboreto Tyrrell-Cosworth
28
Clutch
24
R
Alain Prost Renault
26
Turbo
5
R
Niki Lauda McLaren-TAG
24
Engine
13
R
John Watson McLaren-TAG
13
Electrics
15
R
Piercarlo Ghinzani Osella-Alfa Romeo
10
Gearbox
23
R
Mauro Baldi Alfa Romeo
4
Engine
10
R
Stefan Johansson Spirit-Honda
4
Electrics
17
R
Riccardo Patrese Brabham-BMW
2
Engine
1
R
Andrea de Cesaris Alfa Romeo
2
Spin
6

Fastest Lap: Nelson Piquet (Brabham-BMW), 1:34.431s

[Team-by-Team report]


Tables

Driver's Championship

Pos.
Driver
Points
1
Alain Prost
51
2
Rene Arnoux
49
3
Nelson Piquet
46
4
Patrick Tambay
40
5
Keke Rosberg
25
6
John Watson
22
7
Eddie Cheever
21
8
Niki Lauda
12
9
Jacques Laffite
11
10
Michele Alboreto
10
11=
Andrea de Cesaris
6
11=
Nigel Mansell
6
13=
Marc Surer
4
13=
Riccardo Patrese
4
13=
Derek Warwick
4
16
Mauro Baldi
3
17=
Danny Sullivan
2
17=
Elio de Angelis
2
19
Johnny Cecotto
1

Constructor's Championship

Pos.
Constructor
Points
1
Ferrari
89
2
Renault
72
3
Brabham
50
4
Williams
36
5
McLaren
34
6
Tyrrell
12
7
Alfa Romeo
9
8
Lotus
8
9=
Arrows
4
9=
Toleman
4
11
Theodore
1